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Wednesday, 29 January, 2003, 18:30 GMT
Anxious wait for Cipollini
Italian cyclist Mario Cipollini
Cipollini will have to wait to see if he can race
World road racing champion Mario Cipollini must wait to find out if he can ride in this year's centenary Tour de France.

The Italian's Domina Vacanze team missed out on an invitation when the four wild-card teams for the Tour were released.

But Tour director Jean-Marie Leblanc said the sprinter had another chance when four more wild cards were named on 19 May.

"We'd like to see him in the Tour but it depends on how his team performs," said Leblanc.

Gilberto Simoni, rated by four-times winner Lance Armstrong as his biggest challenger, will ride in the Tour after Leblanc confirmed his Saeco-Longoni team as a starter.

The team was excluded a year ago after Simoni twice tested positive for cocaine before being cleared by the Italian cycling federation.

The other teams to get wild cards on Wednesday were Belgium's Quick Step-Davitamon, and France's Credit Agricole and FDJ.com.

In all, 22 teams of nine riders will take part in this year's 20-stage Tour that starts on 5 July in Paris and ends on the Champs Elysees on 27 July.

The other 14 teams were drawn automatically from the top of rankings by the International Cycling Union, the sport's governing body.

Erik Zabel has been named captain of cycling's Team Telekom for their first year without former Tour de France winner Jan Ullrich, now with Team Coast.

The team have six newcomers, among them world time trial champion Santiago Botero, Giro winner Paolo Savoldelli and Australian Cadel Evans.

US Postal's Armstrong will be bidding for his fifth straight Tour victory, hoping to equal the record of Spain's Miguel Indurain, who won from 1991-95.

See also:

16 Feb 03 | Cycling
15 Jan 03 | Cycling
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